Virus outbreak halts damaged Wisconsin refinery rebuilding

Published 3:06 pm Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SUPERIOR, Wis. — Husky Energy has suspended rebuilding its oil refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, that was damaged by an explosion two years ago because of the coronavirus outbreak, the company announced Tuesday.

“Given the current safety and public health risks, Husky has begun a systematic and orderly suspension of major construction activities related to the Superior rebuild project,” Husky spokeswoman Kim Guttormson said.

The fire and explosion in April 2018 injured dozens of people and forced thousands to evacuate. Alberta, Canada-based Husky received the final approvals to begin reconstruction in September and had expected to wrap up the $400 million project early next year.

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Husky typically employs about 200 people, the Star Tribune reported.

Some workers will remain on site as essential functions continue, such as the wastewater treatment plant and gasoline and diesel terminals, Guttormson said.

Social distancing rules are in place for employees and customers, including pacing of truck traffic, to try to limit the spread of the coronavirus.